At 18 years of age I was diagnosed with a giant cell tumor in my right knee and tibia. Thankfully it was benign, but very aggressive. It caused a lot damage to my knee. I needed to have it removed because it was growing and destroying the bone. I had my first surgery in 2000 to remove it and reconstructed my knee and tibia. My doctor told me that there was a 10% chance that the tumor could come back. At that time, I had no idea that this was the beginning of a different direction and plan that God had for my life. I didn’t know how much this would affect my future. Not long after surgery we find out the tumor was back! I recovered from surgery number two, only to find out that the tumor was back AGAIN! After two reoccurrences the only option was to take out my whole knee joint and have a total knee replacement at nineteen years of age. This was surgery number five in a three years. After this surgery I went ten years without having any surgery. Yes, I had limitations. I couldn’t run or do stairs well but I could definitely walk and manage great. During these years I got married and had two kids. I definitely had some restrictions and pain off and on because my leg just did not function properly. Even with my limitations, for the most part all was well.
Then, three years ago the pain started back and was so bad I couldn’t walk. Thankfully there wasn’t a tumor but all the hardware in my leg wasn’t working well. I had four additional surgeries to try and fix the source of the pain. This included another partial knee replacement but nothing seemed to help. I was still unable to walk and was back to using my wheelchair and crutches. After going to the Doctor to try and get where I could walk again, she told me that an above the knee amputation was the only option to get rid of the pain. To be honest, I was stunned for a while because it seemed so drastic. I knew I had to go through with the surgery to be able to move on. I so longed to move around and be active. I did not want the pain to drag me down any longer. The date was set for June 15th to have my amputation. This would be surgery number ten! It’s hard to describe the feelings and thoughts that one goes into preparing for an amputation. But, in the midst of it all, I had a peace that truly does pass all understanding. How is that? Because I knew my Faithful Heavenly Father was with me and would never leave my side. He would provide all I needed and all my family needed to get through this. The plans He had for me in this were more than I could ever imagine. He would go before me and show me how I could lean on Him to be my Strength and that through HIM “I CAN DO ALL THINGS”!
Here I am today, 5 months out of surgery and have recovered great! The physical part has been an easy transition because I was used to maneuvering on crutches and wheelchair. My family and friends have been a HUGE blessing in my life as they prayed for me, encouraged me, cleaned my house, brought us meals, and the list goes on and on!
Yes, I have grieved the loss my leg. I get frustrated when the simplest tasks are overwhelming or when I fall yet again. It is humbling at times to look different. It does cause my heart to hurt to look down and see something is missing or when I am getting dressed having to roll up a pant leg, setting my shoes out and forget I only needed one. This is reality, but through it all God continues to show me as He did when I was eighteen years old “that His grace is sufficient and that His Strength is made perfect in my weakness”. I need Him because I am weak. He is faithful to whom He says He is and continually shows me that I am not meant to do this in my own strength. He wants to be my Strength, my Help, my Comforter, and I can completely depend and lean on Him.
I am waiting to hear any day now that I can bring home my prosthetic leg! There has been an issue with insurance 🙂 but in the very near future I will be walking and moving like never before. The kids have made a list of things we are going to do when mom gets her new leg and I can’t wait to check each one off, especially the one that my four year old son said “for mom to run like a lion”!!